Dispelling The Hard Racing Myth

(Photo by Robert Laberge/Getty Images)

Over the course of the last several years there has been a myth flowing through the racing community, and nowhere is this myth more apparent than in the garage area itself. We’ve all heard this myth at least once or twice, we even saw it play out on live television this past weekend at Texas Motor Speedway; Driver A is knotted up and fit to be tied because Driver B “raced me too hard!” This may not be the verbatim phrase each and every time, but the message is always the same.

Here’s a startling revelation…there is no such thing as “racing someone too hard.”

Let me say that again, just to make sure we’re clear; there is no such thing as “racing someone too hard.” It’s just a myth. It’s a work of pure fiction that is used to offer some sort of explanation as to why a driver didn’t do well.

Now hear me out on this, the concept of racing someone too hard is a myth simply because you are only raced as hard as you allow someone to race you. Driver A feels like Driver B was pressuring him too hard for the eighth-place position, Driver B kept up a relentless assault to gain the position; looking inside, looking outside, drawing along side and just hanging there, pinching him down in the corners, the list of possibilities goes on and on. And you, Driver A, let him do it. It’s that simple.

Driver A had the position. Driver B wanted the position. Driver A didn’t want Driver B to get his position. If Driver A felt as though Driver B was pressuring him “too hard” for the position (after all, it’s on for eighth place, right?) then why not just let him go? The situation would be over, and everyone goes about their race in a nice, happy manor.

But Driver A is not going to do that (nor should he if he chooses not to) because this is a race, and he gets paid to keep this position, and if he can, improve upon it. But this may come as a shock, Driver B gets paid to do the exact same thing. Driver A wants to retain that position as much as he can, as well he should, but that doesn’t mean Driver B is wrong for trying to take it from him. If the point of the event was not to “race” either other, then why don’t we just qualify, and whomever is the fastest is declared the winner and we all go home? It’s an insane notion, but it’s the only one that will fix the problem of “racing too hard.”

The simple fact of the matter is that race car drivers owe it to themselves, their teams, their sponsors and their fans to race hard and garner the best finish they can, with the ultimate goal being a trophy on the shelf. Anything short of that is dishonest to your reasons for being a race car driver. Yet, to achieve this, you have to race hard, and maybe scuff a few feelings along the way. It’s because of this that “racing too hard” is a myth. You are only raced as hard as you allow yourself to be.

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1 Comment

  1. I agree with your premise of “no such thing” entirely, but not really with “Driver A let him do it.” I would be more inclined to say that Driver A was racing Driver B just as hard as Driver B was racing Driver A. It was a contest and neither one wanted to quit, which is why we come to the track. We come to the track to see contests between drivers who don’t want to quit.

    So my counter to “He raced me too hard” would not be “You let him do it,” it would be “He raced you precisely as hard as you were racing him.”

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